By Susan D. Harris
There was a time when America wasn’t quite so evil; a time when very few people would boldly lie or sabotage someone else’s work or destroy a career. Now it seems commonplace…from the living room, to the boardroom, to the courtroom to the highest office in the land.
My particular story happened many years ago. My company had hired a new boss for my department about a year after I was hired. She worked in software development, but held a degree in psychology – which she used to psychoanalyze underlings and coworkers. On two occasions, boss lady called me into a conference room to tell me that my facial expressions revealed that I did not understand what was happening at our team’s morning meetings. I thought she was a complete loon, but spent the remainder of my career there distracted by consciously employing eyebrow arching, affirmative looks, chin-rubbing and nodding in agreement.
I was already walking a thin line trying to keep my boss entertained – trying to bond with her or act the part of medieval minstrel or court jester so she wouldn’t fire me on a whim.
Even that backfired. She called me into the conference room to tell me, in her Freudian manner, that she perceived I was working too hard to get people to like me. I yearned to tell her that I spent most of my time trying not to tick her off so she wouldn’t fire me in a fit of misguided psychoanalysis; but I didn’t. I took the petty, acrimonious speech on the chin like I’d taken all the others. Nearly six years passed this way, and though I had wonderful reviews from my colleagues and accompanying pay raises, boss lady was gnawing on my last nerve. I held out hope that the imminent hiring of a new person in our small group would distract her from making me the scapegoat for her psychobabble venting.
She finally hired a new girl. She seemed friendly enough, but dressed oddly and confided strange things in me. From the beginning, she seemed to purposely work late when I did in order to tell me disturbing personal information – always unsolicited — which made me uncomfortable. She had dated an indigenous Canadian man who she claimed had hit and verbally abused her. She said she didn’t feel pretty anymore. She needed therapy and I didn’t know what to do. I assured her — in an “older sister” kind of way — that she was a beautiful young woman who should have more confidence in herself. I tried to wrap up the mostly one-sided conversations as diplomatically as possible. No one else knew of the troubled tales she was telling me, and I was hesitant to tell anyone due to the personal nature of what she was sharing. Things went along like this for a while — until boss lady’s husband got cancer.
Boss lady was gone most of the time for nearly a year. When she did come to work she was (understandably) hard to get along with … either crying or angry or experiencing some roller coaster emotion. I began to resent her for being abusive toward me when she did come in. For an entire year, my work life was in crisis because hers was in crisis. This affected my home life as well. I was worn out, working extra hours with no pay because I thought it was the right thing to do. Who is so low to complain about extra work when someone else has a family member dying of cancer? I was verbally commended by family and coworkers for my work ethic and lack of complaining. I was, however, on a collision course with the new girl who was angling for more power and saw me as a threat.
The new girl, it turned out, was Wiccan. She had begun an affair with a guy in the IT department, and they’d married in a circle of humans, rocks, incense and various other oddities in the middle of a forest. The bride wore a heavy dark velvet dress on a hot summer day. When she told everyone they “wanted a private ceremony” — nobody questioned why she hadn’t invited anyone from work. My coworkers never figured out she was Wiccan and thought the marriage ceremony was a “back to nature” kind of thing.
Eventually I became Wiccan girl’s target of hate. The Bible on my desk, Bible verses pinned to my cubicle, the cross I wore; they irritated Wiccan girl to no end, though I’d never proselytized to her. With boss lady largely out of the way, Wiccan girls’ loathing of me continued unchecked.
That’s when I stumbled across a shocking truth: If someone is truly a bad seed and truly wants to sabotage your work…there’s likely no way to stop them. Spreadsheets were changed, burned PROMs were damaged, tapes were tampered with, and my fate was sealed.
When boss lady returned after the death of her husband, Wiccan girl took advantage of her vulnerability to become her dearest friend — a shoulder to cry on. They became thick as thieves, and it proved a deadly duo for me. Eventually Wiccan girl became Salome to boss lady’s Herod Antipas. When Wiccan girl told boss lady, “Bring me the head of John the Baptist,” it was me who was about to have her head on a platter.
Before I knew it I was being hauled into Human Resources and questioned about why I couldn’t get along with Wiccan girl. I wanted to scream. Wiccan girl was on a “lynch the Christian” vendetta and had the full backing of boss lady — who was already tired of her self-induced burden of psychoanalyzing how many times I blinked.
What’s important about this whole story is what came next. It wasn’t reality; it was all about perception. Wiccan girl was always around corners, whispering to my coworkers. They began to see me as a “problem,” though in what way I’ll never know. I was urged to be nicer, to treat Wiccan girl differently, to work harder and be a better person. I became part of a play I hadn’t even auditioned for; I was being forced to resolve a problem I didn’t have. Someone was hell-bent on destroying me and I kept being told the problem was me!
It was, until the death of my father, the worst time of my life. I regularly vomited before work each morning.
Eventually the company put me on a three month notice “to be a better team player” with Wiccan girl or I would be fired. There was nothing to do. I had done nothing wrong so there was nothing to improve. I spent every free minute in the bathroom with my Bible, begging God to intercede on my behalf.
I will never understand why it had to happen, but when I was finally fired it was a gut-wrenching relief. I was never given a clear reason. My mother assured me that someday I would find out what happened. It was the only time in my life she would be wrong. I never found out what lies were whispered about me; what grievances were launched against me. I had even feared for my physical safety; my view of the workplace would never be the same.
I learned something important however, and that was that if someone really wants to destroy you, they can drag you into a pit where everything is only about you and them.
It’s a form of bullying and we’re watching it happen to the President of the United States. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un makes his demands, his threats…but President Trump is the one blamed for stirring up trouble. NPR and other liberal news outlets keep assuring people that despite the U.S. president’s threats, we might be able to avoid nuclear war. The casual listener might think Trump was threatening to nuke Kansas.
It’s Trump who is seen as the aggressor; Trump who doesn’t type the right Tweets; Trump being forced to run defense because an evil, crazy man has threatened to destroy everyone around him. It’s Trump who is “escalating the rhetoric” when poor Kim Jong Un hasn’t even taken part in these “exchanges.”
Sure it’s a bit of a stretch to compare my experiences to the leader of the free world, but one has to wonder – just like with boss lady and Wiccan girl — how far will the regressive left go with their lies and bullying? I never thought I would see the day when it could happen on such a large scale…the world stage.
As the president tries to govern, Kim Jong Un keeps trying to pull Trump into a pit where everything is only about North Korea. Meanwhile liberals are salivating for the president to make one wrong move. (I remember what that feels like too.)
One almost wonders if Kim Jong Un is being bankrolled by Organizing for Action. I never discovered all of the dark forces behind my abusive work experience. I can only pray that our president can rout out the dark forces trying to distract and destroy him before it’s too late.
Originally published on American Thinker August 14, 2017